Answer: Easy. Start a rumor that there is a gas shortage.
I started to notice the gas zombies rushing about, snatching up wallets and keys, racing madly for the door, yesterday afteroon at work. I glanced up from cruising the Internet just long enough to wonder if there was a clearance sale on spittoons down at the local Hicks ‘R Us, then shrugged and went back to my important, pressing work (catching up on blogs).
One of the nurses burst into my office with googly-eyed frenzy, practically barking at me, “GO BUY SOME GAS!”
I asked the question no one else seemed to stop to ask: “Why?”
She almost grabbed me from my chair and lunged toward the door with me in a heroic effort to save me from my non-gas-buying self, urging, “There’s a gas shortage because of Ike!”
This still made no sense. A hurricane destined to land nowhere near us, that the entire world has known is coming for at least a week, was causing a gas shortage….how? Apparently she decided I was a lost cause, and she valiantly saved herself, racing off to buy mass quantitites of gas, leaving me to fend for my lonesome.
So I turned to the trusty Internet. No gas shortage reported on the news. Plenty of gas in the entire state, actually. Despite this, people were flocking to gas stations, waiting in line over half an hour, paying upwards of $5 a gallon, and….*drumroll, please*….creating the damn gas shortage that did not exist before their mindless, panicked flight of stupidity.
I drove home shaking my head at the long lines backing into lanes of traffic, the huge SUV’s with one person inside waiting to fill their Texas-sized gas tanks, the shamefully inflated prices brandished proudly on station signs. Did I stop to wait in line? Hell no. I went home. I muttered about the fucking idiots who are so easily swayed to jump onto the hysteria bandwagon and perpetuate it with their own unthinking worship of all that is gasoline. A gas shortage will spark more widespread panic than a food or water shortage.
Someone is quite pleased with yesterday’s profitable trick. Someone made a lot of cash from yesterday’s mindless panic. A lot of gas stations were wiped out due to the zombie-like march to the gas pumps, stations that would have been stocked normally if people hadn’t panicked and created a problem where there originally was none.
And today? Dolts across the city are pointing crooked fingers at the bagged pumps at the drained gas stations, spitting contemplative lines of tobacco juice, nodding their heads proudly, declaring, “See? *burp* There WAS a gas shortage, but luckily I filled up the truck and the camper and the four-wheeler and Granny’s car and the lawn mower and the car that just sits on the blocks in the front yard and every empty gas can I could find!” Scratches head, tilts head with puzzled look. “Wonder how these dang gas shortages happen anyway….”